The meeting on "Synapses: From Molecules to Circuits &Behavior" will assemble leaders in the field, together with junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, to discuss new, cutting-edge developments in the molecular control of neuronal excitability and synapse function. This proposal seeks support for the meeting which will be held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory April, 2011 and the subsequent conferences in 2013 and 2015. Synapses are the key structures in brain that form the basis for neural circuits, are the primary points at which neurons transfer and process information, and control the behavior of an animal. Topics to be discussed for the 2011 meeting include: 1) Synapse formation - molecules and mechanisms;2) Pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms mediating synaptic transmission and its plasticity;3) The development and the function of synaptic circuits;and 4) The role of synapses in human disease, especially neurodegenerative diseases and autism. The meeting will embrace diverse technical approaches (including cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, electrophysiology and behavior) and will showcase a range of experimental systems (from mammals to invertebrate model organisms). An important mission of the conference is to span the full spectrum of this field from reductionist studies of synaptic transmission to in vivo investigations of brain function. The molecular pathogenesis of disease will be highlighted, since it is becoming increasingly apparent that dysfunction of synapses are often causally or indirectly involved in nervous system disorders. Each session will be chaired by a leading scientist in the field. Oral presentations will be selected from submitted abstracts by the session chairs in consultation with the organizers. Selected speakers will include graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty aiming for maximal inclusion of young investigators. Of special importance are the two poster sessions, where many participants can present their work in an atmosphere conducive to informal discussion. Two special lectures will be presented to highlight important or rapidly moving areas. The meeting will be of moderate size and we expect about 300 people to attend, the vast majority of whom will be presenting a poster or talk. The subsequent biennially conferences will follow a similar format and will include topics that are highly relevant at the time of the meeting.
This application requests funding to support a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on "Synapses: From Molecules to Circuits &Behavior". The conference will focus on cutting-edge research presentations primarily from junior non-established scientists, and aims to provide a general discussion forum for the emerging and converging research efforts linking synapses to behavior and disease."